Dec 04 2008

US Hispanics Up For Grabs

Published by at 1:46 pm under All General Discussions,Illegal Immigration

Hispanics are learning a harsh lesson. I have two interesting reads about how the left and right are blowing it with this key demographic group. Let’s begin with the GOP’s issues with Hispanics:

Many in the Republican Party are addicted to the divisive practice of exploiting nativist fears to scare up votes. 
As with any addiction, the first step to kicking it is to admit you have a problem and ask for help.

The nation’s 46 million Hispanics are America’s largest minority, and they’re on track to represent one in four Americans by 2042. Every two years, another 1 million Hispanics join the voter rolls. Two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Barack Obama. Political experts say that, if Republicans don’t stop hemorrhaging Hispanic support, they might never win another presidential election. Period.


Specifically, there are five things that Republicans did which cost them Hispanic support.

  • They made language and culture the issue rather than illegality, which irked U.S.-born Hispanics who might otherwise have stayed out of the fray;
  • They didn’t condemn the racism in their ranks on the part of those who believe that Hispanic immigrants are inferior to the immigrants of old;
  • They let the debate digress from one that was anti-illegal immigration to one that was anti-immigrant to, finally, one that was anti-Hispanic;
  • They fell into the trap of offering simple solutions to what remains a complicated problem

; and
  • They either assumed that Hispanics were not in play or that they could win some of those votes on the cheap with a spattering of Spanish ads.

The fact is there is a group inside the GOP chasing away groups of naturally conservative voters by their extreme tactics and commentary. The only good news is that the Dems are not taking real advantage of the GOP’s blunders:

f there is one message President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has broadcast about Cabinet picks, it is that ethnicity and gender will not be the first considerations when filling the slots. 

Credentials over tokenism, after all, was a fundamental principle of Obama’s presidential campaign that highlighted his ideas and community values over his African-American background. Still, if all goes as planned, Cabinet members with hefty résumés will present a picture of diversity. 

Hispanic political leaders agree. Their expectations for seats at the president’s top policy table are not about meeting quotas but about advancing the reality that within this fastest-growing ethnic group are seasoned policy experts who understand the economic, foreign and domestic policy concerns shared by everyone. 

Obama promised hope and change, and Hispanics hoped for the usual two Latinos in the Cabinet. And heck, why not three or four? Now that would be a change. 

But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community. 

The GOP needs to squash the voices calling for over-the-top responses to immigration. They need to put and end to the lies I have been hearing to this day (such as President Bush did nothing about our borders during his 8 years). We don’t need inaccurate hyperventilating tinged with hefty dose of snobbery to win elections. In fact, we need just the opposite.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “US Hispanics Up For Grabs”

  1. Frogg says:

    There will be Bill Richardson in a smaller cabinet position (Commerce). Perhaps the Hispanic community only considers this to be a “token” slot.

    Obama could also appoint Hispanics into high positions of influence (though not at the cabinet level).

    And, although I disagree with AJ on how we should approach immigration policy issues (I want the border secured first)….

    I agree in full that the GOP needs to take care in how that message is formed.

    It is also a fact, that if the GOP can’t secure support from the Hispanic community they will not be able to win any elections in the not so distant future (it’s a demographic fact).

  2. Terrye says:

    This is where I think pundits like Michelle Malkin hurt the Republicans. First of all she gets linked to by way too many far right extremists that no serious political person would want to be associated with…and she acted as if Bush was part of some plot to turn the United States into Mexico.

    People like Malkin fed on paranoia and innuendo and hysterics and look where it got us.

    Bush got 44% of the Latino vote, in 2006 and 2008 Republicans did well to get half that. This is not all Malkin’s fault of course, but she is typical of the kind of over the top rhetoric that drove people from the GOP and damaged their brand.

    The truth is Bush has done more to secure the border than real true blue conservatives like Gingrich ever did when he was Speaker. And instead of giving credit where it is due, they attack the president, and add insult to injury by running off yet another demographic. The rhetoric is half the problem. They could deal with the issue without beiing so obnoxious.

  3. Mike M. says:

    AJ, I’m not so sure about that. I think there is a very strong case for the Republicans to maneuver the Dems into becoming the Party of Minorities…and, therefore, the Minority Party.

    Pandering and payoffs are a zero-sum game. SOMEBODY loses. And when you are pandering to and paying off minorities, it is the majority that is footing the bill.

    And if the bill is big enough, that majority is going to be very, very angry. Which they are. Tap that justified wrath, and you can sweep to victory.

    I will say that tapping this reserve of votes requires good tactics. Above all, it requires a dispassionate approach to the problems. No overheated rhetoric, just solid policy…backed by hard action. Talk is cheap, and people have had their fill of it. Deeds, not words, are the only way to win.

    But DO, and the Republicans can make the Democrats the Permanent Minority Party.

  4. Terrye says:


    If the GOP becomes the party or the middle class white man only then it will be the permanent minority party.

    Women, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, young people…put them together and they are the majority

  5. MarkN says:

    The big story in 2008 is the Gran Salida.

  6. The Macker says:

    A thoughtful post.

    Both parties are a quilt of various interests. Even with the border secure, Hispanics will be a large demographic with the family values of the GOP. That group should not be abandoned. “Pandering” is the wrong word for inclusion. They should be a part of the GOP agenda as should the Asian groups.

  7. crosspatch says:

    I agree with The Macker. Most Hispanics are hard working, family-oriented, church going people. Increasing numbers of them were born right here. Many serve in our armed forces and they don’t shy from the combat arms, either. Their traditional family and economic interests are more in line with the Republicans than with the Democrats. The only thing preventing them from being more closely aligned with the Republicans is a perception that Republicans hate them.

    I think most of them, like most of us, just want to see some reasonable disposition of the millions of people already here and would support a secure border. In fact, if many of the “illegals” could get valid work permits, many would be fine with going home over the winter when work slacks off. Our current policy means that in many cases, these people winter over here for fear of not being able to get back. We have actually made a problem much worse than it might have been.

  8. Terrye says:


    Unintended consequences. For years and years Mexican migrant workers would come up here and even to Canada to work the fields and then go home in the winter. Once the borders were more closely watched they started to stay.

  9. kathie says:

    The fact is, is that we need immigrants, all countries need immigrants. I think we are lucky that many come from the Americas. Now we need to find a way to make it possible to know who comes and have a wide door to accept them. That can’t be impossible.

  10. combat18 says:

    They aren’t up for grabs. They decided that they prefer welfare state socialism to personal responsibility. A welfare check and amnesty over hard work and obeying the law. Spanish supremiscism and never having to learn English. Out of wedlock births over marriage. Gang-banging over clean neighborhoods. The fantasy of liberal Republicans is amazing. Hispanics are like blacks, they actively choose welfare and affirmative action. That is unacceptable to any real patriot, any real Republican, any real conservative. It is welfare versus work; affirmative action versus color blindness; Spanish versus English; America versus Mexico; promiscuity versus marriage. Some people just don’t get it. McCain promised amnesty, affirmative action and more welfare, along with not having to pay your mortgage and the Hispanics chose the real Democrat over the wanna be Democrat.

  11. AJStrata says:


    You are the kind of destructive conservative that is killing the movement. Most HISPANICS are not on welfare. Most are legal immigrants or US citizens.

    It is your kind of lazy, broad-brush statements which not only repulse Hispanics, but others who can think in more detail about a large and complex segment of America.

    They are America now that they are the largest ‘minority’ – get over it. You’re not a real patriot, you’re a real fool.